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U.S. fare helps boost Teuton B.O.

Local hits contribute to positive trend by nearly 1% to 19.9%

Germany saw a 9% box office boost in the first half of the year thanks to boffo biz from blockbusters including “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

According to figures released Wednesday by the German Federal Film Board, local hits contributed to the positive trend, increasing the market share of Teutonic films by nearly 1% to 19.9% — the best first-half showing for local pics since 1997.

Among the big homegrown moneymakers were Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s award-winning Stasi drama “The Lives of Others,” Andreas Dresen’s “Summer in Berlin,” tyke pics “The Wild Soccer Bunch 3” and “The Wild Chicks” as well as “Sophie Scholl — The Final Days,” which saw renewed business after its Oscar nomination for foreign-language film.

Box office returns were down in the first three months of the year but saw a turnaround in April and May with the release of “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” the most successful film here so far this year.

The animated pic’s success resulted in the best April box office in 15 years and generated a 96% increase in admissions over the previous month.

While the first five months of the year saw revenue growth of more than 12%, the World Cup soccer championship in June caused a 16.3% revenue drop, dampening the six-month figure.

With a total of 92 films — 23 more than the previous year — German releases in the first half of the year outnumbered U.S. starts.

The film board expects the positive trend to continue in the second half, with major upcoming films such as Tom Tykwer’s “Perfume — The Story of a Murderer”; “7 Zwerge — Der Wald ist nicht Genug” (Seven Dwarfs — The Forest Is Not Enough), the sequel to 2004’s hit comedy “Seven Dwarfs”; and “Wo ist Fred?,” a comedy starring Til Schweiger and Jurgen Vogel.

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